3000-year old Prosthetic Toe Discovered
June 27, 2017
Switzerland-based scientists have re-examined a 3,000-year-old artificial wooden toe, most likely one of the oldest prosthetic devices, discovered in Egypt.
The international team investigated the one-of-a-kind prosthesis using modern microscopy, X-ray technology, and computer tomography. They were able to show that the wooden toe was refitted several times to the foot of its owner, a priest’s daughter. Together with other experts, Egyptologists from the University of Basel have reexamined an artificial wooden big toe. The find is almost 3000 years old and was discovered in a female burial from the necropolis of Sheikh ´Abd el-Qurna close to Luxor. This area is currently being studied using state-of-the-art methods.
The artificial toe from the early first millennium BC testifies to the skills of an artisan who was very familiar with the human physiognomy. The technical know-how can be seen particularly well in the mobility of the prosthetic extension and the robust structure of the belt strap. These material biographies can provide information about the manufacturing practices, usages, personal skills, habits and preferences of people who were in contact with these objects.